California State University – East Bay has officially launched the Black Excellence Project (BEP), which documents student graduate success on campus via multimedia and film. BEP captures Black students’ experiences of their perseverance in obtaining their undergraduate degrees.
Black Excellence was co-created by Sarah Aubert, Higher Education Analyst, and Steven Cleveland, Ethnic Studies Entitled Lecturer & History Lecturer, DEI Student Center African American Fellow, in partnership with Cal State East Bay’s Institutional Effectiveness and Research department. As first-generation college students themselves, Ms. Aubert and Professor Cleveland are uniquely qualified to understand the pain points that can lead to student success or failure.
Black Excellence focuses on a strengths-based approach to highlight programs and factors that aided students in staying on track. The project seeks to strengthen support for Black Students by promoting a culture of inclusivity, encouraging collaboration and conversation, and informing responsible and thoughtful action. The project will bring attention to institutional best practices that are crucial to enhance Black student success.
“Having the student voice front and center allows us to learn from the students’ lived experiences on their road to graduation. The Black Excellence Project shows us the work of our Black students and their community, thriving in spaces where they feel empowered and supported,” adds Dr. Cynthia L. Alvarez, Assistant Director, Student Success.
After identifying students who successfully graduated from Cal State East Bay in two years as transfers, or in four years as entering freshmen, interviews focused on sharing the students’ stories and spotlighting their success and excellence for their peers and communities. These stories are being shared via a social media campaign across multiple platforms, using the “educationalexcellenceproject” moniker. Data collected via the student interviews will be shared with the institution to highlight and recommend implementation strategies to improve Black student graduation rates.
Dr. Nele Hempel-Lamer, Director, CSU Certificate Program in Student Success Analytics, states, “The Black Excellence Project at Cal State East Bay is a powerful and inspirational example of what it means to employ an asset-based mindset towards closing equity gaps on campus.”
About California State University – East Bay:
Cal State East Bay welcomes and supports a diverse student body with academically rich, culturally relevant learning experiences which prepare students to apply their education to meaningful lifework and to be socially responsible contributors to society. Through its educational programs and activities, the university strives to meet the educational needs and to contribute to the vitality of the East Bay, the state, the nation, and global communities.